One of my favorite Fenders has always been the Mary Kaye Stratocaster. An original one from the 50s are one of the most sought after and expensive collectible Fender guitars fetching way more that most players and many collectors could afford. Fender Custom Shop Reissues can cost $5K to $8K. I decided to make a project and assemble my own.

This is a very light relic that will age nicely over time as the body is from MJT Guitar Finishes all nitro (like the old days) done by Mark and Matt Jenny. The neck is genuine Fender.


This Mary Kaye Tribute Stratocaster is a custom built guitar project I assembled. See the build process and details here plus more information and history on the Mary Kaye Stratocaster as the “see-thru” white finish with gold hardware has become known as.

Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Pickups

Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Pickups


My goal for this project was to create a nice tribute to the Mary Kaye Strat with a a 5-way switch and 9.5 neck radius. I was not after a clone or heavy relic. This body is a thin skin nitro like the old Fenders and will age on its own from playing in its own time. I aimed for what I liked about a 1957 Mary Kaye.

Finished Mary Kaye Stratocaster Project

Finished Mary Kaye Stratocaster Project

Flamed Fender Neck

Flamed Fender Neck

The gold Kluson tuners are reissues that have the “one line” Kluson Deluxe like the original ones that Fender used from 1956 to 1964 on Stratocasters.

Kluson Deluxe - one line

Kluson Deluxe – one line

The neck American Fender ’57 Reissue Stratocaster Neck has a very nice feel and looks period correct on this guitar.





I made sure that even the Switchcraft jack was gold like most of the original Mary Kaye Strats.






I used Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s Stratocaster Pickup set, 5-way switch with no load tone control wiring. Thought if this was good enough for several of the Mary Kaye Custom Shop models it would work well for me.


The Tremolo unit is Fender’s ’57-’62 Vintage Reissue Tremolo kit in gold. I swapped out the tremolo block with a Callaham steel block as it adds more sustain. I changed the black screws Fender provided for gold screws to be more period correct. They look a lot better as well.



I added a custom neck plate with period correct serial number. Ron Kirn makes these and sells them on eBay. He stamps them exactly the same way Fender did in the day.



The Mary Kaye Trio – ONLY film or video of Mary Kaye actually playing the original Stratocaster

Mary Kaye talks about her career and the Mary Kaye Strat

Keef playing Ronnie Wood’s 1957 Mary Kaye Strat. Maybe I will do a ‘Micawber’ project one day!